glasshouse |ˈglasˌhous| noun [Brit.]
a greenhouse, |ˈgrēnˌhous|, a glass building in which plants are grown that need protection from cold weather.
This weekend we found our inspiration for the flower and veggie garden. This strange, neck-shaped piece between the orchard and the field has always been a bit of a struggle for us. We had no idea how to turn it into something of value. Should it be a playing ground? A beautifully simple grass field? A kitchen garden full of savory herbs?
Since we’re living in the fast lane, we actually do take time to enjoy the good moments of life. So one sunny Saturday we went to Staverden Castle (Kasteel Staverden). We only had thoughts of some wine and finger food, but…
There it was! The Victorian Glasshouse.
The metal structure painted white with its elegant, cave-shaped roof grabbed our attention. We went inside over and over again. It was warm, comfortable, useful, inspiring! And it had absolutely dazzling character. This was exactly the eye-catcher that this part of our garden cried out for! If we build a glasshouse like this at the end of the heart line, we’d have a perfect ‘folly’. It would bring great perspective to the flower garden and drive people right into this part of the garden where they could wander between the blooming beds and enjoy the scents of nature.
The glasshouse could also be used as a winter shelter for citrus trees or as a greenhouse for orchids, or even a nursery for our the indigenous plants of our garden. With just a few seats and a heater it would make a fantastic place to sit in early spring or even late autumn. Can you imagine reading a book surrounded by the smell of orange blossoms with buckets of rain pounding on the metal and glass above?
Our only problem was where to get one?! 🙂
We placed an ad on the Dutch eBay. The copy we placed translated as: “There’s no match between our house from 1813 and a modern aluminum glasshouse. Therefore we’re looking for an ancient Victorian glasshouse between 20 square meters and 40 square meters which has a brick substructure. Who has got one or knows somebody that has got one and wants to get rid of it? It is not a problem if it is a bit broken; it can be a renovation project. We’ll come to pick it up wherever in the Netherlands and Belgium.”
If you are from the UK and you have one to offer, don’t hesitate to reply. 😀
Filed under All, Gardening
The Old Door
Almost two weeks ago we’ve asked our neighbor to make us new doors. It was a kinda test to see how he did. Stéphane is nice and smart, speaks English but can he make a door? The answer is obviously YES he can.
The old doors were completely rotten and turned to the right. When we first took a look it looked quite simple but apparently the sandstone doorposts had handled more than one door in the past and were full of iron pins, not able to have any extra or they would break. We needed to change the situation.
The New Door
We now think this part of the barn was used as a black smith for fixing horseshoes. There used to be a fire place and the floor looks like a cattle barn. We also found one horse shoe. Maybe we should ask the old Monsieur Le Noble next time.
Anyway the new doors swing to the left and are waiting for their final color. Every area has its own ‘official’ colors to use for shutters and doors. The mayor knows.
What do you think would look nice on these doors? 😉
Filed under All, Renovation
We’ve started working on the court and the orchard. They are around the mill and there is grass there that needed to be maintained anyhow. It’s logical to start here and –mind you– a good garden needs at least three years of work. The first year is for shaping and planting the new collection. The second year is for (re)planting, growing and maintenance. And during the third year you’ll be (re)planting, growing, maintenance and enjoying.
So this is the year of The New Collection. We bought some plants in France, but they are way too expensive! We’d rather buy the plants in the Netherlands for example at Abbing (Zeist) … I just love to search around that huge nursery.
So far we have planted the following:
Achillea millefolium ‘Cloth of Gold’
Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’
Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’
Aster ‘Monte Cassino’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Campanula addenda ‘Blue Star’
Centaurea montana ‘Grandiflora’
Clematis montana ‘Rosebud’
Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’
Iris ensata ‘Diamant’
Iris japonica ‘Variegata’
Papaver orientale ‘Perry’s White’
Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Robusta’
Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’
Primula ‘Gold Lace’
Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’
Rosa ‘Penny Lane’
Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple’
Filed under All, Gardening
… you start to doubt. OK, we decided, let’s fly in a specialist. Someone who knows what to look for and how to assess the value of the property in all its aspects.
The wooden construction of the mill is ...
So we contacted a retired building inspector and asked him what he thought of the project. He’s undeniably a decent man and a skilled negotiator. he said: “Marco, you’ve bought a beautiful barn, but I doubt whether you will be able to live in it.” And he smiled.
“OK, so the roof is not so good?” “No.”
“OK, the tiles are not so good?” “No, not really.”
“OK, then, and the wooden construction?” “Son, it needs some work.”
“Great! So it needs some work. Fine! How much?” “Over 200k euro’s worth,” he said quietly.
Silence. That we could calculate.
In the photo here you can see the outside tiles. In January 2010 you’ll not be able to see any of this. It’ll all be covered and hidden behind fresh, new white plastered walls.